From the Expert! Erik Stanley on Mixing Up Your Run Routine

From the Expert! Erik Stanley on Mixing Up Your Run Routine

People in general love routine, and we see this through many patterns on a daily basis. Sometimes change is good though, and that’s what I want to talk about. Often you hear trail runners say how much they hate the road or track because it hurts their knees, and conversely you hear road runners say that they will never run on the trail again because they nearly broke an ankle last time they tried.
I want to challenge you to try it again.  I have personally seen how adding diversity to marathon training has kept me healthier, made me faster, and helped me have more fun with running and racing.

Let’s say you are a trail runner:  If you can spend 1-2 days per week on the road and/or track doing interval workouts, you will without a doubt see faster times in your races. Taking a step away from the trail will allow you to pick up the pace a little and work on your turnover.  Typically we have our best form when running fast.  We get off our heels and lean forward and therefore running fast can help remind runners - if not gently reinforce - how to run with more efficient form.


So say you are a marathoner or 10ker: The last time you tried trail running you got lost or rolled an ankle and consequently decided never to go back.  The trail is your friend not your enemy!  Taking 1-2 days per week off the road or track and running on the trail will add more diversity to your training, strengthen your stability muscles, and during the hot summer months can even decrease the rate of burnout because the trails are shaded! During my college days running at The University of Texas, I would run on the Barton Creek Greenbelt every Wednesday.

The run always went by faster. I loved running through the woods and across the spring fed creek.  Jumping over rocks and logs and twisting through the trail helped keep me healthy, and provided a break from my usual routine.

This is why at Trail Roots I have our class meet on the track most Tuesday evenings.  We do speed interval workouts and a frequently hear excitement from the runners when someone says, “I haven’t run this fast since high school!”.  Saturday mornings we do our long run on the trail.   The combination of road and trail is perfect and keeps the training balanced, yet dynamic.

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